Golf: Duo shares Greenbrier lead, Woods in contention at halfway stage

Jhonattan Vegas putts on the 12th hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC.
Jhonattan Vegas putts on the 12th hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC.PHOTO: AFP

West Virginia, United States (AFP) - Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods made it safely to the weekend at the Greenbrier Classic, where Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas fired a five-under-par 65 to join Scott Langley atop the leaderboard on Friday.

Vegas had five birdies with no bogeys for a nine-under-par halfway total of 131. Langley, the overnight leader after a first-round 62, carded a one-under 69 to maintain a share of the lead.

They were chased by a tightly bunched field, with a group of seven players just one stroke back. Canadian David Hearn and American Bryce Molder carded 64s to join the group on 132, England's Greg Owen and Americans Chad Collins and Kevin Chappel posted second-round 67s and New Zealand's Danny Lee and American Jonathan Byrd both signed for 69s to complete the group at eight-under.

Six more players were tied on 133, and 10 more were on 134.

Former world number one Woods, coming off a dismal US Open showing at Chambers Bay, avoided missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his pro career, firing a roller-coaster one-under 69 to head a group on 135 that also included two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (68).

Woods, who delivered a solid 66 in the first round, made his fourth birdie of the day at the final hole, rolling in a six-footer to get back to under par for the day.

But he also had three bogeys - all on the back nine at the Old White TPC course.

After a birdie at the second, Woods reeled off eight straight pars before a bogey at the 11th hole. That was followed by a birdie at 12, a bogey at 13 and a birdie at 14.

After a bogey at the 16th, Woods was in the water off the tee at 17, but saved par after almost holing a wedge from 98 yards out.

The 14-time Major winner's 36-hole total of 135 is his best on the US PGA Tour since he opened with a 135 at the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship.

He was tied for 26th - four shots off the lead.